Newport in November

ArcticFox Newport.png

Day 4 on this camping trip, 157 Days of use total since purchase of the trailer, 78th Day out this year.  This day has begun in Newport in November and it is beautiful.  At 0900 hours the temperature was in the 50’s, without wind or breeze, clear and dry.  By any standard of Oregon weather at the coast in November or any other month for that matter it is great weather.

We are nearly alone at the Marina RV Park and one of only three on the row closest to the bridge and waterfront.  The benefits of being able to camp on the weekdays are many fold.  Most obvious among them, lots of room around your camp site, and quiet.

I may have to take a little bike ride after LeAnn leaves for her run but it appears she is going to take a while getting out the door.  It is important to know before you leave if you need gloves, are your sunglasses the ones that make the “Ocean blue” look the most vivid. Can you run with one earbud in without loosing it and not noticing that you lost it.  Have you got the best route planned for the most beauty.  I am exhausted by the process of going on her run.  I would be totally done in if added to that I had to run.  She is totally amazing.   Then as soon as the planning process is complete the trailer door opens her voice says “see ya” and she is off for a leisurely gazillion mile run.

And we are back.  My bike ride was great and you’ll never guess who I ran across on my travel.  Yes it was her, on her gazillion mile run.  Now it’s time to settle into a comfortable afternoon of reading and soaking up the warmth of a November sun, while lunch percolates in the insta-pot.  That smells nice.

The screen door is open, its just like a summer time camping trip with chairs out and everything.

Yesterday I had a major screw up with the forward storage compartment latch.  It is worth noting for no other reason than confession is good for the soul.  We were expecting company on Sunday afternoon and I thought it would be one of those times when at the last minute LeAnn told me she wanted the chairs out so we might sit outside.  In order to get ahead of the curve I tried to get the chairs out of the forward storage and was unable to get the lock to turn.  Those locks can be temperamental at times so I quickly assumed when it didn’t open that the latch had become corroded or something inside had shifted blocking the latch.

Determined to work on the easiest solution first I looked for and was unable to find any WD40.  Being determined to fix the problem and without adult supervision as LeAnn was working inside the trailer, I advised her I was going to town for supplies and off I went.  Finding the local NAMPA dealer open on a Sunday afternoon I found the WD40 and also a small torch.  Having success in mind and also knowing heat along with lubrications often trump corrosion I bought the small torch also.  Of corse money is no object while camping so I did not worry so much about the $30 dollars I had just spent for the project.

Yep I was going to lube it and then abuse it with heat to win the battle.  The return trip was spent visualizing my success.  I lubed the lock and every one on the trailer.  The lock did not budge.  Then ready for my secret weapon I got the Torch out of its plastic wrap.  Not that easy as you might expect but no the less out.  My beautiful butane torch, guaranteed to solve my problem.  The same torch that is special designed to keep unauthorized personnel under the age of 12 years from opening.  I struggled for 30 minutes to ignite the torch.

Company arrives I am still focused and going to get that torch to work.  Another male is enlisted to assist.  The child proof lock has us stumped.  LeAnn and Faith had already gone onto their run.  I being completely dominated by the child proof lock on the torch determined I would return same to the store and return to the lock fight on the morrow with heavy equipment and a new lock after I destroyed the object of my frustration.

Torch returned I and Herold returned to the trailer about the time the girls returned.  Everyone returning at the same time to witness the end of this epic adventure into the miscalculations of a proud male.  After explaining the problem and my frustration to LeAnn, she with the wisdom of years in my presence asks “Are you using the right Key”.

The rest needs no further explanation other than to assert that proper credit was given to those parties involved who demonstrated beyond doubt their ability to triumph over stupidity.  She is really a super hero.


Still out here and enjoying it.

Seems like I have lost my interest for the past several months in writing in this blog.  I fact I think I have kind of lost interest in looking at other blogs as well.  Must have become too worried about being entertaining, or offending someone with a wayward opinion about current affairs.

So in an effort to get back on the horse here is a brief summary of the past and a glimpse of the future for this blog.

Since January of 2018 the number of Grand Kids has grown to 6.  With the most recent born a week ago to Nick and Christen, their 3rd child making their group 2 boys and a girl.   We sold the Cougar 5th wheel and bought an Arctic Fox 27-5L.  It is smaller and allows us the ability to get into camp sites that we’re too small before.   So far we have had this 5th wheel almost into Canada, very close to Mexico, all over Northern California, and to Central Oregon several times.

Fishing has been good and not so good but the fishing company is always great.  After thinking about how much I have been using the boat I own I have decided to put that one up for sale.  It is on consignment at Koffler’s in Eugene waiting for someone who will use it as much as it needs to be used.

With all that said about the past in as short a narrative as could be expected, the future seems bright.  LeAnn has retired last June, and we are still friends.  I have adapted to the added supervision afforded by her presence at home.  After admitting my deficiency in the use of the dish washer, and washing machine, I have submitted to the new order in household responsibility.  My job now is to stay out of the way, and realize the folly of the methods previously employed to do dishes (loading dishwashers) and laundry (washing towels with other things that are not towels, and perhaps using the wrong temperature settings for those things that are never worn by me).  There is so much to learn.

In a couple of months we will be spending 4 weeks in Maui with friends who happen to also be relatives.  After that more camping, more overnights with grand kids, even a planed trip cross country with the trailer at a pace that would befit the lazy ambling of a retired man in his mid 60’s.

Not a bad existence.

First Fishing trip of 2018


It seemed like 0500 hours came a bit early but in the grand scheme of going fishing that was not too bad for someone not real used to getting up before 0630.  I fished with Damon on Friday.

It was the first fishing trip of 2018 for me.  The trip started with breakfast in Siletz at the Cafe.  The weather was better than forecast.  I had expected rain most of the day and for this trip had decided to use the breathable waders, and Carhart rain coat.  Turned out to be a good choice but not entirely necessary.  It was mild as far as the cold and not very wet as far as the rain.

The water was as low as I have seen fishing in the winter and clear.  We drifted from Moonshine Park to the town of Siletz.  The hot rod in the boat was the Client, he caught all the fish of consequence on the float.  I tagged one Steelhead, he tagged two, we also boated one Coho that was released, and several trout were caught and released.

There were not too many others fishing this area of the Siletz.  Curt Curry was there and fished the same float with two clients.  We also saw and shared water with one other boat.  Three boats on the water with good good weather made for a pretty nice day.

I will be looking forward to more fishing this year and hoping for a better run of fish than last year.


Post Christmas trip to Coast

The wind is gusting, I can hear the rain beating on the windows, and it is 72 degrees in here with the satisfying smell of Steak cooking.  I could really get used to camping like this if I didn’t  have to go outside once in a while.

We came to Newport for a couple days in the 5th Wheel Tuesday after Christmas.  We will return home tomorrow Friday.  Weather the first day, cold breezy and yes even a little uncomfortable, but it didn’t take long to improve on that.  After the trailer warmed up and all the actions needed to get settled in were over it was a very nice place to be.

This trip could be summed up by saying the wifi was fast enough to watch Netflix and the trailer was a great place to sit and read.

In between those hi points I noticed we were not very crowded in the camp ground.  The first day I counted about 15 rigs.  There are more today as we get closer to the weekend but still lots of room for people to camp.  There are several open spots in the area with beautiful views of the bay and bridge.  I am surprised but not dismayed, that a lot of people would rather use the pull through sites.  Do you suppose it is because they are easier to get into or they just don’t want to back into a spot?

Now for the creepy part.  It is so easy to see someone pull in and wonder what their rig is like.  Well you don’t have to wonder for very long.  Just get on the internet and look up their rig.  In a short time you can see about how much it is worth and the floor plan.  I know kinda weird.  I will promise not to do this much in the future.

I had the opportunity to speak with a full-timer named “Bob” who is also just down the way.  Very nice guy with lots of camping wisdom.  He shared with me some pointers about camping in cold weather, and spoke about a few of the projects he is working on in his motor home.  He told me he and his wife were tired of the dry and dust camping down south in the winter so they are presently enjoying the Northwest weather.  I am thinking good for him but I don’t think I understand the logic.

We have two Airstreams near us they are nice looking rigs and the people with them are very pleasant.  Just a few hours ago a brand new Arctic Fox 992 pulled into the site next to us.  I kinda got into a little trouble with that one.  He came over after getting his limit of crab and offed me some.  I was outside and the wife inside.  Thinking only of myself and the fact that we just had crab a little while ago I deferred.  When I came in with the report about the neighbor I was chastised a bit for turning down the crab.  In my defense she had just told me we were having steak for dinner.  I like steak.

If I was going to list something to improve on during this camping trip it would be getting things a little cooler in the bedroom.  (I am sure that doesn’t sound right).  The trailer is so well insulated but closed up for the rain that there is not much fresh air getting to the sleeping area.  Open a window, good idea they all said.  It can’t be that simple.

Friday we leave, go home and then leave again for Sister, Oregon with family at a rented home for the New Year’s weekend.

Crabbing at Yaquina Bay

This is a pretty late post and is being done because I am using this time to be lazy.  I have started to come down with a head cold and am resolved to not doing much today.  Therefore I am going to make a little post about a trip taken to Yaquina Bay Thursday before last December 7th.

IMG_4606It was one of those trips with Damon my fishing guide friend that remind you not everyone is that good at fishing but some are very good at getting their limit.

We had a temperature inversion in the valley that kept the cold trapped in the valley.  Made for some clear cold nights and dry conditions in the area.  So when I got the invitation to go crabbing after being kinda laid up with my sore back this past few months it was important to go.  After all I do have a policy about going whenever invited unless there is a prior family commitment or doctor appointment.  In this case there was a prior appointment to have coffee with some other retired people but they are not by policy, family members or doctors, so I had to go with Damon’s invitation to remain in policy.

The other advantage to going on this trip, unlike some fishing trips it is sensitive to the tide and the predicted tide was at a reasonable hour.  Broken down into my most simple explanation because the incoming tide was later in the morning we didn’t have to be on the water until later and could sleep a while into the morning.  I am not a big fan of getting up at 0300 hours.  In this instance I didn’t have to get up until about 5am.

We were launched and in the bay setting traps for crab by a bit after 8am.  I think it might even have been later than that.  Damon Struble of Nomads fishing adventures, Carl Hansen, and Greg Buchert, comprised the crew on this trip.  You might note it is the same group that were on the epic fishing adventure on Green Peter Resv several years back.

As you might expect the weather on the Oregon Coast was great.  Cloudless sky, cold, and a bit breezy.  The crabbing was good.  In fact I was surprised how good it was.  We secured our limit of 48 crabs in a little over 2 hours.


A Table fixed

When we got this trailer there were a few things that have caused us a little concern.  One of which was the table.  It is nice and solid, looks good but it was hard to get under and did not slide forward or aft like it appears it should.  There were rails under the table and looked like it should move to give more flexibility to those seated at the table.

I reviewed the users forum for Northwood trailers and noticed several people with the same problem.  Most sited problems with the hight of the table and the “knee knockers” under the table that you bumped into when getting seated.

I puzzled about the problem, which is to say, while sitting outside smoking my pipe and drinking coffee I thought it was a problem that should be fixed and the solutions I read about seemed a little short of the right answer for me.

Well it came to me this morning, stop puzzling over it and tear it apart.  Right wrong or whatever I took the table apart and found the answer I was looking for.  Whoever put the table together had all the right parts, they just put one upside down.  The table is fixed now the hight is perfect, the “knee knocker” is gone and I think it looks better.  It took me about 3 hours to do and would have been quicker if I wasn’t prone to regular breaks.

If you are interested in the solution to table problems on the 2018 Arctic Fox Silver 27-5L read on otherwise know I fixed it and now the table is as it should be.

  1.  First I took the table off of the pedestal.  It was secured with 8 Kreg screws.
  2. I took the table top into the garage and set it top down to examine the problem.IMG_4569
  3. I notice there were two hinges that were not doing anything and then noticed the wood where the table attached to the pedestal was about 1/2 inch lower than the rails.  To rase the table I needed to put a section of lumber the same sized on top, wait how about turning the part over.  Yep it was put on upside down.  IMG_4572
  4. By turning it over I raised the table top a 1/2 inch.  Next I sanded the groves and notice when I took it apart that it had been screwed down so close that it had no play between the parts and was unable to slide.
  5. Next I went to work on the rails.  Cutting each on the end at a 45 degree angle and sanding the area smooth. IMG_4575
  6. After I was satisfied the part would slide smoothly, I got my wife to help me put it back on the pedestal and screwed it down.  Problem solved.  I didn’t add any wooden parts, raised the table 1/2 inch, eliminated the “knee knockers” and walked away feeling pretty good about myself.  Then I took a short nap.

Ok it might have been a longer nap than I needed but it was well earned.  I will try to share this solution on the forum after I improve on the directions a little.

In summary if you own a Arctic Fox 27-5L and are having trouble with the table, this might be your solution.  The only tools you kneed are a Kreg screw driver, fine tooth saw, sand paper, and a partner that will hold the table while you get it centered on the pedestal.    IMG_4585

Newport, Oregon second trip out

It was a long weekend for LeAnn and we were anxious to try the trailer out again.  I got things all hooked up and left as soon as LeAnn got home on Thursday night.  That meant we left after 1730 hrs and would be setting up in the dark.  We had reservations at the Port of Newport Marina & RV Park.

I knew we would be getting into the site after dark and have been kind of thinking about the easiest way to manage getting settled into the space we had reserved.  It was a back in site with a great view of the marina.  They are paved and wide but after dark it is often difficult to see anyone who is helping you back in.  It is also custom made for married people to yell at each other.  (Its why its so much fun to watch others get set up)

This time I decided to try some of those chemical sticks to mark the target spot I was going to back into.  Worked very well.  I set the light stick at the left rear corner of the site and used it as a reference point.  Keeping in mind I am going to need 4 feet of space between the trailer and the electric service because of the slide out.  It makes it easier for us now we only have slide outs on the left side.

It was not raining when we arrived but it was just as dark as I imagined it would be.  Hit the marks, hooked up sewer, water, electricity, auto level, and we were done before I knew it.  This thing almost sets itself up.


Our Truck and Trailer

I took some photos during the times weather was good.  I was drizzle and clouds a lot of the time this weekend but we were either inside being comfortable or shopping for those things you think you need for a new trailer.


Trailer on the service side

I have started to do a few things different when we set up.  No longer do I worry about the chalks so much.  The sites are most often very close to level, and the trailer is on the front jacks before it is disconnected from the truck.  This makes it very unlikely it is going to roll.

I stopped the worry about when LeAnn goes into the trailer and when the slide outs are put out.  Most of the access for service are not effected or hampered by the slide outs.  It also goes to my general attitude I am trying to improve on.  Don’t be an impatient jerk.  Not easy, but I am beginning to understand being understood works best if you are listened to and being listened to happens more often if you aren’t a jerk.


The woman I took camping

As you can see from the picture above that area is great for getting girls to smile or to have a little protection from the rain.  I might be inclined to use that area under neath there to sit and ponder during my morning coffee if it was raining.

However I did find out something the power awning is awesome and I used it several times.  As you must know the old way was labor intensive and meant some one had to stand out in the rain to make it happen.  This one is all done while standing in the trailer and is high enough to park a Duramax under.  Slam latches for the storage doors, windows that don’t get all wet inside, a furnace that makes it too warm inside, and automatic vents that cycle out the smoke from over cooked bacon.

I couldn’t help but think we have come a long way since pulling that port-a-potty with a bed, behind the Ford Bronco back in the 90’s.


Newport Bridge over Yaquina Bay

After pulling out of the RV Park, we pulled the trailer down to the South Jetty, put the slide out and ate a snack while watching the bay.  Sometimes its hard to end a good weekend at the coast.

The New Trailer

We have been talking about it for a while now.  Finding a trailer that would work for the kind of camping we are doing now.  The Cougar was nice but after time it became apparent that it was too big.  We found our selves being limited to certain locations and sites because you just can’t put a 35 foot 5th wheel anywhere you want.  Especially if the darn thing is also 14 feet wide.

So at first we thought we might go with a 29 foot bumper pull.  Even looked at a few.  The problem was it didn’t change my overall length.  Having the hitch halfway into the truck bed makes a difference.  We also noticed storage was an issue.  So the more we worked on the problem and thought about the problem it looked like we needed to stay with a 5th wheel.  Great now what.  New used all have their good and bad points.  Cost, financing, its all those little things to consider.  Having the trailer paid for didn’t make the decision any easier.

As usual we worked on the process lots longer than necessary, and might still be working on the process except for a picture in a brochure for a 5th wheel we thought was too expensive for us.  (It might still be pretty expensive but thats a point we don’t need to think about anymore)

Every photograph of the 5th Wheel looked out on the most beautiful places.  The inside of the 5th Wheel was really spacious, I just felt like they took the photos just for us.

So too keep you from falling asleep reading this we went to Junction City and looked at the 5th Wheel in the brochure.  The problem with that visit was the view out the window was not as inspired but the 5th Wheel its self was just what we wanted.

If you needed something to put your finger on as far as tipping points, double pane windows, 16″ wheels, and what appears to be quality workmanship.  The design hasn’t changed in years, it is built on a frame designed for it, and is believed to be a true 4 season trailer.  It is manufactured in a part of Oregon that knows about winter.

So drumroll we thought about it for another 2 months.  Finally making the purchase well after camping season.  Its ours now and will be for a long time.  The Cougar 318 SAB was traded for our new Arctic Fox 27-5L.

Our first trip out was November 4th and 5th at River Bend County Park a few miles east of Sweet Home, Or.  We had water and electricity on this camping trip but there is no sewer hookup.  The park was fairly empty with only a few campers.  It was overcast and wet the perfect kind of weather to stay inside and thank God you aren’t tent camping anymore.  (Not that we would ever tent camp in November unless we were Elk hunting)

We were in space 7B and I think it was kind of a dark campsite.  Lots of trees and not much exposure to the sky.  Even after the rain stopped it dripped from the trees.  When you are inside a nice warm camper it kind of a neat sound.

A few things of note:

  1. There are so many light switches I can’t begin to tell you.
  2. The shower is big enough for me and thats no joke.  If you know me I take up a lot of space.
  3. The four point leveling system really does level the trailer and makes it a lot less prone to motion.
  4.   The windows hardly showed any condensation, I am not kidding.
  5. Everything seemed to work as it was supposed to.

During this process I also got a few updates to the Duramax, spray in bed liner, new B&W Patriot Hitch, Wickum Weld Tool box and Cab Rack.  I like the way this rig looks going down the road.

LeAnn camped the first night and then returned for some Grandma Duties, I stayed one more night because I can.  The next trip will be November 9th, 10, and 11 at The Port of Newport RV park.

Good or Bad it was candy

A while back we hosted a Pinochle Party at our house on a Saturday night.  The next day we had our boys over for dinner.  There was a lot of house cleaning prior to the Pinochle Party and also some candy that was necessary at all the card tables.

One of those represents chores that I like to avoid and the other represents opportunities to graze on treats left behind. Good things and bad things by my way of thinking.  Remember in this house you need to take special care with those things you think might be good and those you know are going to be bad.

On Monday I felt ill all day long.  Not ill like on vacation but weak and out of it kind of ill with an upset stomach and little or no energy to do anything.  The untrained eye would most likely interpret what they saw as a man who was very lazy.  I spent the day just lying around and practiced my napping skills.

On Tuesday I felt much better than the day before.  That evening I felt so much better I even attempted to tease my wife about the candy that she had left on my workbench after the Pinochle Party.   The candy had been spotted on Sunday afternoon and I suspected she had put it there before the boys came over for dinner.

My wife does not leave candy out any longer; this is one of the changes I have noticed since her weight loss.  So whenever I am able to find candy lying about it is either an oversight on her part or part of some more sinister master plan.  I have become less concerned about the sinister things in my life these past years and now spend more time thinking about the good luck I am having.  A stash of candy wrapped in a towel on my workbench must mean she was trying to hide it but became distracted and forgot what she was doing, never to return to the stash.  Yes overworking the wife can lead to benefits.

Remember in this house you need to take special care with those things you think might be good and those you know are going to be bad.

I was feeling better on Tuesday and knew I should not continue eating the forgotten candy.  After all she is either going to remember she left it on the workbench or see her towel on the workbench and discover the candy again.  Either way I am going to get into trouble for eating the candy or for having the towel on my workbench.  The best defense is offense.  I determined to do what most any other man should have done I try to tease my wife about leaving her candy stash on my workbench.

This next part is where things get a little fuzzy.  As I begin to tease the wife about leaving the candy on my workbench she has a strange look on her face.  I am unable to tell if it is a quiet satisfaction or that look you have just after you lock the door to your car and remember where the keys are.

“Candy” she says “You didn’t eat it did you?”  This may mean several things.  She was saving it for another occasion, she wanted it for herself, and she didn’t think I should eat it.  You get the picture, it could have meant almost anything, but I know it doesn’t mean something good.

That’s when I learned that after mopping the floor, the mop bucket was put next to the freezer, which is next to the door in garage.  The candy was then put on top of the freezer when she was getting ready for the boys to come over on Sunday.  Through some action taken with intent or carelessness the candy fell into the bucket, was quickly scooped out and laid on a towel to dry.

Was this part of a master plan? It is much too soon to tell.  Was I wrong to eat the candy?  Are you kidding me I am always wrong.  Did she just attempt to poison me knowing I would eat the candy? No, this couldn’t be possible.  Just remember my wife loves me and would never do anything bad to me. But, if you see candy lying around in this house, only eat the stuff that is dry and already wrapped like it came from the factory.

The Truth: (as she see’s it)

Ok, I still have little self-control where chocolate is involved, so I put the candy out at the last minute before Pinochle guests arrived that Saturday night. I put the opened bags of wrapped candy in a big plastic bag and put it right outside the door on top the freezer in the garage. Of course the freezer can be a little warm on top, so I tossed the bag on top of a stack of Costco paper plates that was conveniently there in case I needed more before the evening was over. Oh no, the bag of candy slipped right off and splashed into the mop bucket, which, strangely enough, even though I had helpfully left it conveniently right outside the door in expectation that my wonderful husband would see it and immediately take it outside and empty it for me, because he has earned a very high expectation level from me, well, unbelievably, that bucket was still sitting there full of dirty water. If I do say so, my reaction time is lightening fast where possible damage to chocolate is involved. I snatched that bag out of the bucket instantly, but a few bags as well as some individually wrapped pieces of candy fell into the water. I grabbed a towel and wrapped the candy to sort out and deal with later. Much later.  So you see, once again, it really wasn’t my fault.

Vacation with a dark twist

Definition of EMERGENCY

: an unforeseen combination of circumstances or the resulting state that calls for immediate action

The following information is given in an effort to enlighten and perhaps assist the reader who might either find himself in similar circumstance or peril.  I am not going to attempt to minimize the mistakes or spare the reader any discomfort as the story will necessarily deal with some unpleasantness and all around “are you kidding me moments”. If you have a weak stomach or are inclined to turn your head away when confronted with general stupidity or gross things related to biological issues, don’t read any further.

IF you are still reading, don’t say I didn’t warn you. This is my recollection of the events leading to the fateful day and the vacation from hell.  Don’t worry; I think my wife still enjoyed the vacation.

She had been talking about this vacation for months.  10 Days in Maui. The tropical paradise, plans were made, tickets purchased, the condo arranged for, and off we go.  The flight over was uneventful, except for that little delay in Portland, which made us a bit late for the connecting flight in San Francisco. The aisle seat was nice and it didn’t really hurt all that much when the flight attendant ran the cart into my knee the first time.  It hurt a little more the second time but was almost unnoticed after that. After a while, you learn to anticipate being hit and even get out of the way once in a while.  It is not always easy to be 6 foot 5 inches tall.

The flight arrived in Maui on time and the hunt for the rental car was not too difficult. The car was a convertible with enough room to secure our bags and get us on the road quickly.  If only I had a clue where I was going and how to get there. I also noticed after being stuffed into that tube that traveled at 500 miles per hour for 5 hours without knowing which way north was and deprived of food and adequate water, I was a little disoriented and thirsty.  After a wrong turn or two we found a Burger King and some refreshment.

(Excuse me, did you say your first meal in Maui was at BURGER KING? Was your wife APPALLED? Did she refuse to partake, failing to understand any hunger emergency that would necessitate eating at BURGER KING the moment you arrive in Maui?)

Now, well armed with the knowledge we were in Maui and on vacation we attempted the short drive to our lodging. Kihei was our destination. With the experience I have now, it would have been an easy drive.  Still getting acquainted with the rental car and navigation in an area with names that were unpronounceable, we proceeded south and took the most indirect route possible to the condo. I noticed right away there were two types of people sharing the road with me: those who drove as if they had just smoked a joint or those who were very late getting to their next destination. It was a very good thing I didn’t see more people driving like I was, without a clue where they were going.

Now before I go any further know this: My wife has many outstanding qualities. Navigation is not one of them. If you want to go somewhere new, she is not the go-to person for directions. Numerous times in the past and even on this trip, attempts have been made to improve on this small shortcoming without remedy.  I know from training and experience it is not her fault. There are only two explanations for things that go wrong or don’t work: it is either the software’s fault or mine.  More will be covered about this later. (She does try very hard. When the software works properly and she is not distracted by beauty and activity outside the car, she has successfully completed a journey before.)

The condo was very nice, the view fantastic and the promise of the days to come without boundary. Remember, in my world if it is too good to be true, it’s not true. Yes, I too hear the music in the background. Low tones with an ominous beat often associated with movies just before the last guy in line is killed.

Second day:

We took a beautiful walk on the edge of the ocean at sun up. Man was it nice. In fact, looking back, it was one of the best times of the trip for me. The rest of the day was spent in sight seeing and recon, looking for the place to register for a race the following morning and a parking spot. Hope also begins to fade just a little with regard to the navigation issues. It’s not so bad; I am used to driving and finding, I just wish the finding part worked a little better.

Day Three:

This day had a very early start as LeAnn had to be at the start of her race at sunrise.  Not so bad considering our internal clocks are still on Pacific Standard Time.  She did very well in her race, finishing her 15K in 1 hour and 44 minutes.  I was able to photograph and video her crossing the finish line, a very fine event indeed.

Day Four:

Today is the game changer.  From this point on all hope for a normal vacation is lost. The odd thing is it isn’t lost all at once, it isn’t lost in a single cataclysmic event – it fades away in to the fog.  This is my story LeAnn’s will follow closely behind.

I am sure LeAnn has a different vision of this day and her perspective will more accurately reflect what transpired, mine is the perspective that colors my memory and frames the way I will forever remember my first journey to hell. I hope it is my last.

The day dawned with all the promise of a day in paradise might. We planned a drive north past Lahaina, exploring west Maui’s North Shore. On the way we wanted to find a beach LeAnn had heard was one of the most beautiful, and eat at a place where the macadamia nut pancakes were to die for.  Off we went to our destiny, innocent and unaware of the hell that was to follow.

The first hint of trouble came in the stop at a little rest room on the way.  I pulled into a little beachside park and entered the one that had never been cleaned. Trying to keep from stepping on something that might never get off my shoes, I found no real satisfaction in the visit.  Further up the road we became more and more challenged by navigational issues in our search for that beautiful beach.  Beautiful sights were seen and wonderful things witnessed but often times our discussions seemed to have more to do with what we couldn’t find than what we were seeing.  I know now it was either a software issue or my fault.  Once again, I found and attempted some satisfaction at port-a-potty on the way without the satisfaction that might come under normal circumstances at such a facility. It wasn’t that I couldn’t pee, it was that I didn’t feel like I had finished.

After a bit, LeAnn announced that we had missed the planned lunch stop and it was behind us.  Too far, I felt to go back (3 whole miles!) and now committed to a one-lane road with narrow turns and drop offs to the left, onward we traveled.  I had, by this time, convinced myself we would be able to find a good place to eat on the way and not backtrack.  The need to go to the restroom continued but the opportunities were not anywhere to be found.  In desperation I stopped along side the road and was able to gain some satisfaction but nothing like I needed. Hungry and a little concerned, on we traveled. Well into midafternoon we found ourselves back on a two-lane road and knew there was a good possibility of someplace good to eat just around the corner.

Through Wailuku to the Lao Valley we went without seeing a place to eat.  Now the rest room issue is becoming a major concern but I am still trying to keep a good face on the day.  After all LeAnn has been dreaming of this vacation for months now and I am not in a hurry to be the one to spoil it for her.

On the way up the Lao Valley there is a park with a large and very inviting rest room where I spent at least 40 minutes and several trips inside attempting to gain some relief from the pressure that was beginning to cast an ugly mark on this adventure. Onward and upward we travel to the beautiful dead end road with a parking lot requiring $5 to stop and offering a beautiful half mile walk near a babbling brook.  Oh yea just what I needed the sound of running water.  Off I go to the port-a-potty to once again attempt what seems to be the impossible.  This is beginning to worry me a lot.  Still lets keep a good face on this problem after all we don’t want to wreck a good vacation with something that will most likely sort itself out soon.  This is a hint boys, if it doesn’t seem right it’s not right and should be addressed.

Missing lunch, having trouble navigating, and being quiet about a medical issue all can contribute to communications issues inside a convertible on any road. This vehicle and this road were not exceptions to the rule.  The best thing I can say about this time during the vacation was I don’t think I said anything I shouldn’t have but certainly didn’t say a few things that should have been said, all to my discredit.  It’s so hard to be the person you should be when you are busy being something you don’t want to be. In simpler terms; I had to go real bad by this time, in some discomfort, hungry, tired, and ready for the day to end.

By the time we got close to home the need to urinate was becoming the most important thing in my life and I felt like I might not make it to the room in time.  Little did I know I had lots of time because I wasn’t going no matter how badly I wanted to. Yes, we are now at the point pain is becoming a real issue in this adventure.

Now is the time to compound the issue. I can assure you the best way to make things worse is to keep most of the information to yourself, minimize the situation, and if you are really brain-dead, attempt to self diagnose your problem.  Yes, those are the keys to turning a medical problem into a medical emergency.  Hang on it gets worse.

Armed with very little intelligence and even less resources, a man with internet access can come up with some really plausible ideas about what ails him. This can be even more true if you cloud his reason with pain and try to keep the situation as secret as possible.  In this particular situation, my conclusion was a blocked tube and the best solution more water.  Yep folks, we have now taken the plunge in total stupidity and a certainty of continued pain and discomfort.

Pain and discomfort, pace the floor, wipe the sweat from your forehead, teeth-floating pain.  Not a pretty sight and at long last a perfect opportunity to share some of those most intimate facts with the wife when she returned inside from viewing the sunset.  Yep, not feeling very good, think I have a problem, kind of conversation.  This conversation was a good two or three hours into the pace-the-floor part.  That is said to highlight the fact nothing done on my part during this time was done in a timely way or a way that reflected well on my ability to take care of myself.

Now we move to the comical part of this trip into hell.  The best place for a guy in my situation would be somewhere he might get some good medical attention. There finally, get some medical attention, great idea how and where. My wife has a lot of great talents but driving somewhere in the dark in an emergency is not one of them.  Driving anywhere unfamiliar in an emergency, even in the daylight, well you get the picture.

By this time I am so far out of it I don’t remember to get my glasses. It’s all I can do to get to the car, and are you kidding me sit in the car, how the hell am I going to get into that little car.  I did get in the car. Off we go, now into the dark to find a small storefront that houses the medical attention I need. Wrong turns, speed bumps, missed signs, millions of questions and waiting room with a fish tank that had bubbling water, that was the future. Sit down, said the receptionist, its hard being nice when you feel like I did, it is a lot easier to pace and concentrate on being quiet.

I know my perceptions are a little skewed but I am convinced the Doctor in this little store front was one of those guys at the end of his shift who knew better than to go the extra mile.  So after getting his cut of the medical gravy train, he told me I had a swollen prostrate that was not letting me urinate.  Two options: a catheter or medication to shrink the prostrate.  He didn’t do catheters that would have to be done 20 miles north in Kahului. The medication would take some time to realize relief.

The journey continues now with a white-knuckle drive 20 miles north to Kahului to look for a hospital in the dark on roads you can’t pronounce in pain that has not lessened, in fact seems to be about a million times worse than the last set of speed bumps confirmed.  How can this get any better?  How about a couple more missed turns and at least one stop along side the road to attempt the impossible without regard to the laws of the land or good manners in polite society.

Finally the hospital is in sight right there behind us. Two more wrong turns and a small argument about where to park. (She didn’t consider me to be handicapped.) We enter the waiting room full of small children with sore throats and runny noses.  I’ve seen this one before – looked like about a two hour wait from my past experiences.

Millions of questions about names, medical insurance, and the ability to pay, followed by a hope and a prayer that the last medical professional might have called ahead to pave the way.  Minutes turned in to minutes that felt like hours. It wasn’t a long wait if a man without pain had suffered it.

Then the nurse angel appears at the door, “come on back” he says.  Those words were the nicest words I had heard in a long time.  They ranked up there with what I imagine hearing you have just won Powerball, or it’s a boy Mr. McAnulty.  Yea buddy I loved that nurse.  He was instantly my favorite person in the world.  Take off your clothes and lay down here.  No hesitation no modesty just compliance. Then the catheter, followed by the sweet music of relief, 1.5 liters later the absence of pain and the optimism of knowing it won’t hurt like that anymore.

The story could end right there but it will go on now for eight more days. The good side of the story; the antibiotics given to prevent infection and head off complications from the marriage of man and internal catheter will lessen the symptoms and recovery from a terrible cough and cold that will be suffered in the next week, never during the next 8 days will I have to worry or even think about peeing.  The other side of the coin; the best way not to have to come back to the hospital would be keeping the catheter in until I get home, getting up every two hours for the next week to empty the bag, and never taking a step or moving without feeling the pain of a tube where you don’t want a tube to be.

Now fading into the list of things I don’t want to remember; a plane ride from hell to home, a fine dining experience marred by the complications of three hours of straining on the fateful day, being the only one seemingly able to drive but unable to get into and out of that same car without considerable discomfort, showers that required three times as much care and far more planning, and dreaming of being home while in paradise.

What follows now is the truth as told by LeAnn:

Trouble in Paradise

I learned some things Monday.  Among them are:

  1. If your husband says he’s not feeling well and needs to stay near a bathroom, don’t delicately assume you know what he’s talking about. Feel free to pry.
  2. If he comes out of a lengthy visit to a public restroom while you’re hanging out in the convertible in the parking lot, wishing you were enjoying the sunshine somewhere else, and you say, “Do you feel better now?” and he says, “Yes,” don’t assume he’s all better. Ask some more questions.

It was obvious that Will was not his usual cute and fun-to-be with self. I thought it was all due to my failures as a navigator. Like… This stupid map thing on my iPhone doesn’t have the right instructions to the “most beautiful beach in the USA”…. Oops, the Gazebo restaurant where we were going to have the famous macadamia nut pancakes with coconut syrup is in the town three miles behind us….It’s not that I’m completely inept, (well, ok, I am,) but it doesn’t help if the map on the phone doesn’t take me where I asked to go.  Or I tap on the wrong thing and the whole map disappears. Or I get distracted by the scenery and forget that I am supposedly the navigator.  Strangely, he isn’t interested in all my extremely valid excuses.

My navigational infirmity is a sore trial for my longsuffering husband, who has inerrant sense of direction, always notices landmarks and remembers details about places he has been. As he texted our son, “Trying to teach your mom to navigate with the map program is hell on earth.” Believe it or not, I was not the least offended. I laughed out loud when he told me.

Will is far too considerate to bore me with any pain or discomfort he experiences, even though I freely tell him all of my own afflictions, usually several times.  He has a strong personal creed against complaining. (How many times have we heard, “No wimps, whiners, or crybabies allowed”?) I should have known there was something wrong when he didn’t make sure we had lunch.  When we got back to our condo, (with absolutely no good help from me, thank you very much) and he wasn’t interested in dinner either, I was puzzled. “You told me you were feeling better.” Well yes, at that moment he was slightly better. That didn’t mean he was all better.  He needed to stay near the bathroom.

Since hanging out with him was less than fun at the moment, thinking perhaps I’d need to go get some PeptoBismal, I went outside to walk on the beach a little and called my sister Jean and then Hope. I watched the sunset and headed back. I was still enthralled with the sunset when I came back, but Will was pacing the floor, drinking water, wiping the sweat off his face, and I was appalled to see how bad he looked. He said he thought maybe he was trying to pass a kidney stone so he had been drinking lots of water. I started asking questions and looked up symptoms and disagreed with his diagnosis. He just plain had to pee really bad and couldn’t.

I looked up the local Urgent Care and called to see if they were open. Yes, until 9 p.m. It was a little after 7.  He was still pacing, in obvious pain, wiping the sweat from his face. Let’s get going. I found the address on my stupid iPhone map, and we got in the convertible – quite an ordeal since the pain of sitting down about made him pass out. I only took one wrong turn. Do you know how hard it is to find the right street in the dark when most of the street names start with K and have about 15 letters? In his pain-fogged state, Will had forgotten his glasses so he was no help at all. All the gasping and moaning were a little distracting as well. We finally got there, and though we were the only ones in the waiting room, it took awhile to be called back. I enjoyed a magazine and the gurgling water in the aquarium, and Will paced the entire time. The doctor there decided he needed to go the hospital emergency room 20 miles away. The receptionist kindly gave me written directions and a map. A lot of help they are when you are in a convertible with NO INTERIOR LIGHTS whatsoever. So I found it on the stupid phone again.

I immediately turned on the wrong K-word street and went up to the main highway on a road with lots of speed bumps. An absolutely horrible thing to do to a man in his condition.  I felt awful about it, but continued fearlessly on.

It was a very long journey, and I was feeling a little scared. I have never seen my husband in so much pain, and he was not himself, except for his constant moaning exhortation, “Don’t speed.” I’ve heard that before. Many times. Except without the moaning part.

After another wrong turn or two down dark streets, we managed to find the emergency entrance to the hospital. He refused to let me drop him off at the door while I parked, instead tried to get me to take a handicapped parking spot (“If I’m not handicapped right now, I don’t know who is!”) and finally insisted I take a spot reserved for a radiologist.  The waiting room was full of families with lots of children, and a sign directed me to fill out a form and fill out EVERY LINE, then place it face down in a basket, which had a big pile of other face-down papers like it.

To make a long story short, before he went completely around the bend, he was seen by a very nice nurse and doctor, and obtained relief. When we finally left there after 11 p.m., he was ever so much better. Of course, there was a catheter attached to him, and nice a bag strapped to his leg, and a recommendation that he keep it attached until after returning home to be sure it didn’t happen again

The next morning we went out to get prescriptions filled and food to eat in for the day. We spent a relaxing day on the beautiful premises of our condo, and what a joy it was to have my husband returned once again to his amiable self, though still suffering effects of his trying day.

An unsightly bag on the leg does cramp your style on Maui – no swimming or lounging around in shorts, because it came all the way down to his knee. Sadly, it continued to be painful for him to move, including getting in and out of the car. A balcony with a gorgeous view of palm trees, the ocean, whales, and various entertainment including competitive croquet, painting and tai chi at least provided some pleasant distraction when he wasn’t sleeping. Did I mention, he seemed to feel a little worse each day? And I think he started a new fashion trend in his wardrobe of Hawaiian shirts with sweatpants and sandals.

I told him that my friend Cindy had messaged me to be sure to ask someone about Little Beach. I looked it up and discovered it was a nude beach. When I told Will about it, he said, “Well, if we went there, I could clear the beach in no time at all. – frighten small children and give them all nightmares for years to come.”  Oh, what a thought!

On Wednesday, we went out to lunch and did a little exploring before attending our previously scheduled Luau that night, followed by a beautiful drive in the convertible with a full moon overhead. The next morning it was pretty clear that Will needed some rest and recuperation.  He admitted that he just couldn’t keep going out and about with all the pain he was having, but I should go do some things alone. At first I said no, I’ll just hang out on the beach….but then I said, “How about if I take a helicopter tour of the island?” So while he napped, I booked myself the longest and most expensive tour I could find, since after all we weren’t doing any other excursions. When he learned how much it cost, he immediately quit feeling bad that his ailments had ruined so many of my fun plans! I’m so happy that I was able to help him like that. The helicopter tour was AWESOME!

So troubles come even in a Hawaiian Paradise. We adapt, we adjust and we hope that the sifting sands of time will smooth away the painful memories and allow the fun ones to remain closest to the surface!

So if someone you know has Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) give them a little advice from me: take the medication, don’t ignore the symptoms. It will be to your advantage in the long run.